Family, traditions, Uncategorized, writing

The Last Good Day

Jacob’s Eagle Court of Honor took place the Saturday before the first shutdowns in March.

Happy nine month anniversary of ‘14 days to flatten the curve.’ Needless to say 2020 has not been what anyone expected, and the loss of what used to be has brought about some difficult emotions, especially as we head toward the close of what many would say has been a dismal year.

I am no stranger to these feelings of loss and at times despair. This ongoing Covid19 pandemic has been extraordinarily hard on the kids, especially since they relied on school for structure, social support, and surprisingly, fun. My eldest has come into adulthood in the middle of all this, and the future plans he had prior to Covid have been put on hold indefinitely. My father, who remains in hospital in an altered state of consciousness has had to be without visits from friends and family these past nine months. I know that it is for the best; we wouldn’t want to risk illness. But on the other hand, the isolation has not been good for even the slow progress he had made. And there’s still more that I could write on with regard to the struggles that our family has faced over the course of the year. Still with all the negativity and angst, I am learning some valuable lessons. Life is a painful teacher, but she is effective indeed. In the midst of this crisis, I am learning to remember the past as it brings thankfulness for God’s past faithfulness along with hope for the future. In the midst of 2020’s raging storm, I recall the last good day.

We celebrated Jacob’s Eagle Scout Court of Honor on March 7, 2020. It really was a perfect ceremony, made more so because not everything went according to plan. The event was to be held at the church where Jacob’s Boy Scout Troop met. The invitations were sent out, decor purchased, taco caterer booked. The program was set and the planning was progressing nicely. I had some concerns about the smallness of the venue, but the church is on a lot with a large lawn, so we figured it would be fine. After all, most of the other troop Eagle Courts had been held at the same place.

Then on March 4, the Wednesday before the scheduled Court, a large eucalyptus branch fell on the side of the church. There was some minor damage to the building, but more calamitous to the ceremony, the trees would have to be cut on Saturday. There was no way we could have the ceremony at the church, and no way we could reschedule. So we went in search of another venue. One place after another, from our own church to the Baptist church where we had a troop recharter dinner, could not accommodate us. Until we received a yes from the principal at the middle school where Jacob completed his Eagle project and where he attended grades 6-8.

The end result was a perfect afternoon. The gym was large enough to accommodate the ceremony as well as setup for the reception afterward. During the Court of Honor, Jacob was the perfect blend of awkward and proud as he kept trying to step away from being the center of attention at his own ceremony. His uncles, also Eagle Scouts, flew out to California from their respective areas of the country to be part of the ceremony, and the charge was given by all three Haas brothers. Jacob was reserved, yet thankful as he awarded his mentor pins to the middle school principal, his Scoutmaster, his high school band teacher, and church small group leader- people who have helped him along his scouting journey, and whose lessons he will carry with him throughout his life. After all, that’s what Scouting is all about. Helping young men and women be prepared for life. To commemorate his accomplishment, and to embarrass him a bit, his sister Emily put together a slideshow of his scouting journey, along with some video of him dancing at his high school’s Salsa Club showcase. The ceremony turned out better than I had ever imagined, and I hope, was all that Jacob hoped it to be.

Jacob’s Eagle Court took place the Saturday before schools in Los Angeles County closed. If we had moved the ceremony back even one week later, it couldn’t have happened. It turned out to be the last big party before the Covid restrictions, and for our family the last semblance of life as normal. And as the spring music concerts that were scheduled for the following week had to be cancelled as the pandemic worsened, it ended up being the last special event on campus for a long time.

At time of writing, the Covid crisis rages on, and as cases are on the rise again here in LA County, we are once again in the ‘safer-at-home’ lockdown. While the restrictions aren’t quite as restrictive as those this past spring, there is still a sense of doom. But even in the darkness and frustration of the present time, I look back on the last good day with gratitude and remember what there is to be thankful for even in the course of a difficult year. We were blessed to spend that last ‘normal’ day surrounded by family and friends before we had to enter an extended period of time when we couldn’t be with family and friends. And will always have the photos and good memories. I hold onto hope that this too shall pass, and we will get through this time. I wish for you a quiet and blessed holiday season, and a hopeful 2021. Be well.

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